Police were summoned to Asheton's house by his personal assistant, whohad been unable to reach him for several days. Responding officersdiscovered him in his bedroom looking "fairly peaceful," and while anautopsy will be performed, there were no signs of any foul play or druguse; the likely cause is a heart attack.
There was no such term as punk rock when Asheton, his drummer brotherScott, bassist Dave Alexander and vocalist Jim Osterberg--aka Iggy Pop--formed the Stooges in the University of Michigan college town of AnnArbor in 1967. To say that they quickly stood out against the hippiecounterculture backdrop of the day is beyond understatement. Whileothers sang about peace, love and understanding, the Stooges werevoicing the cry of confused, frustrated and alienated youth everywherewith in-your-face anthems like "Not Right," "No Fun" and "I Wanna BeYour Dog." Released right around the time of Woodstock in the summer of'69, the band's self-titled debut album, as well as its followupsFunhouse (1970) and Raw Power (1973) would become touchstones forvirtually all who'd later come down the punk pike--or for that matterthe grunge one, too.
True, the early Stooges got most of their notoriety due to frontmanIggy's outrageous onstage antics, which included everything fromsmearing peanut butter across his bare chest and writhing on the groundthrough broken glass to diving headfirst into stunned audiences. But itwas Asheton's sledge (and sludge) hammer lead guitar (and on Raw Power,bass) that served as the sonic battering ram for the Stooges' music,from the anarchy-r-us wah-wah pedal on "1969" and the hellbent chordsof "Dog" to the thunderstruck riffs of "TV Eye" and "Loose."
In tribute to Ron Asheton, then, here are two versions of "TV Eye" toshow just how endlessly fiercesome a player he was--one from anationally televised Cincinnati show way back in 1970, and the otherfrom a 2004 performance in, of all places, Serbia.
As they say: search and destroy.
- Ron Asheton
- the Stooges